Archive for the ‘Wonderful Picture Books’ Category

Classic Picture Book – Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Posted on July 22nd, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at Classic Picture Book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad DayAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz
Classic Picture Book published by Simon & Schuster





Written in 1972, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is available in several formats (including board book). The copy that I have is a special limited edition that includes some color.

From the moment Alexander awakens until he finally falls asleep, things go wrong for him.

At home, before school, carpooling to school and while at school, it seems as though there is a conspiracy afoot: Make Alexander’s day as unpleasant as possible. Whether squished into the middle of the backseat enroute to school or comparing his lunch with those of his classmates, Alexander feels awful. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, a classic picture book

On the way downstairs the elevator door closed on my foot and while we were waiting for my mom to go get the car Anthony made me fall where it was muddy and then when I started crying because of the mud Nick said I was a crybaby and while I was punching Nick for saying crybaby my mom came back with the car and scolded me for being muddy and fighting.

I am having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, I told everybody. No one even answered.

A great choice for older children, this is a classic picture book that will encourage reflection. Some of Alexander’s problems can be blamed on bad luck, others are due to poor choices. In any event, it is an opportunity for children and adults to reflect on the fact that we all experience some days that are terrible and horrible.

ALA Notable Children’s Book
George G. Stone Center Recognition of Merit
Georgia Children’s Book Award
Reading Rainbow book

Classroom activities from the Professional Development Institute

Lesson plan from Teaching Children Philosophy

Live Oak Media Activity Guide

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at Amazon.com

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at Amazon.ca

Quote from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day on Pinterest.

The Very Inappropriate Word – Synonym Picture Book Fun

Posted on July 11th, 2014 by Jody

Storytime Standouts suggests The Very Inappropriate Word written by Jim Tobin and illustrated by Dave Coverly The Very Inappropriate Word written by Jim Tobin and illustrated by Dave Coverly
Picture book about synonyms published by Henry Holt and Co.

In this all ages picture book, we learn about synonyms, how to expand our vocabulary, and the power that words have. The first line drew me in immediately: “Michael collected words”. I love words and we all have words we hate and love for whatever reason. The way it sounds on our tongue, for what it means, for what it rhymes with, etc. Words are fun and I think it is a great concept to introduce kids to the idea that there are so many ways to say the exact same thing.

Michael pays close attention to all the words that come at him every day– at school, at home, on television, and at baseball. The illustrations of the words that pop up in Michael’s day are entertaining in their presentation. For example, Michael likes “hard words for soft things” and the word “elastic” is stretched as though inside of an elastic instead of a speech bubble. My students and my own children enjoyed looking over the pictures repeatedly.

Michael likes to use the words he finds but when he hears a bad word on the school bus, his friends tell him that is not an appropriate word. The more he is told not to use the word, the deeper his desire to use it, until he finally yells it out at the top of his lungs. In class. Michael’s teacher asks him to stay after school and he is sure that he is in trouble.The Very Inappropriate Word

What happens next is unique and I truly enjoyed the lesson that the teacher wanted to impart in the book. Instead of detention or a long lecture, she asks him to find new spelling words. In essence, she lets him see how many words exist that are powerful and fun, while also being appropriate. She gives him a responsibility to help her and that trust, along with the wonderful task of exploring new words, diminishes the power of the inappropriate word.

Sometimes our actions are strengthened by the reactions of others. Michael’s teacher didn’t give him the reaction he expected. Instead, she showed him a different path and let him find his way. What we say is important but so is how we say it. I like that this book shows kids there are other ways, other words, to communicate what they are trying to say.

On another note, there are a number of fun activities that you can do with this book. In my classroom, I used the example on the first page where we see a picture of Michael, surrounded by “M” words. The students drew a self-portrait and tried to find as many descriptive words about themselves that started with the first letter of their name as they could. Not an easy task but upper intermediates will enjoy the challenge while they learn some dictionary and thesaurus skills. A second activity I tried was to give a word and see who could come up with the most synonyms. So, if I put “happy” on the board, they all had thirty seconds to write down as many words as they could that meant the same thing. This is a great way to do a quick check of their vocabulary understanding. Even if you just use the book as a fun read, the students will get lots out of it.

The Very Inappropriate Word at Amazon.com

The Very Inappropriate Word at Amazon.ca

The Kissing Hand – A Picture Book Classic for Starting School

Posted on July 8th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

The Kissing Hand -  A Picture Book Classic for Children Starting SchoolThe Kissing Hand written by Audrey Penn, illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak
Classic picture book published by Child & Family Press


Despite the fact that my youngest son was very familiar with the preschool that he would be attending, separation was a major problem for him. He had been to his older brother’s classroom countless times. He had met the teachers and knew the playground BUT, when it came time to stay by himself, he was devastated. He simply would not let me leave. He grabbed my arm, he wanted reassurance and most of all, he wanted me to stay nearby.

Since that time, I have taught many classes for preschool-age children and have dealt with many youngsters who don’t want mommies and daddies to leave. Their eyes well up and they send a clear message that they will be heartbroken if left. Almost without exception, my experience has been that when mommies and daddies show confidence in their child’s ability to cope and when they don’t hesitate, the child manages fine. Sometimes a few tears are shed but a skillful teacher will quickly have the child happily engaged in an activity.

For some children, I offer my small brass bell. We put it outside the classroom and their parent is instructed to ring it when they arrive just before pick up time. Usually we are enjoying a quiet circle time when the bell is rung and the child’s eyes light up when she realizes that mommy or daddy is waiting outside.

For other children, I have a small stuffed ladybug – it is just the right size for small hands. I encourage children who are feeling separation anxiety to “look after” the ladybug for me. Usually, within a few minutes, the child is happily playing and the ladybug has been left behind.

The Kissing Hand shares the story of Chester Raccoon and his reluctance to leave Mommy and go to school. He claims that he would rather stay at home, play with friends, read and swing. Mother Raccoon is ready with a simple but reassuring message:

“Sometimes we all have to do things we don’t want to do,” she told him gently. “Even if they seem strange and scary at first. But you will love school once you start.”

She shares a secret with her son.

Mrs. Raccoon took Chester’s left hand and spread open his tiny fingers into a fan. Leaning forward, she kissed Chester right in the middle of his palm.

Mrs. Raccoon is a wise mama. My best guess is that she is sad to see her youngster start school. She knows she will miss him and that he is taking a big step toward independence but she puts her own emotions aside and she equips Chester with the knowledge that his mother’s love will always be with him. She also shows confidence that he is ready to take this step away from home.

A great choice for children heading off to preschool or kindergarten. Do not be surprised if your child’s teacher shares this story during the first week of school.

The Kissing Hand at Amazon.com

The Kissing Hand at Amazon.ca

Some related picture books that young readers will enjoy

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board The Kissing Hand written by Audrey Penn, illustrated by Ruth E Harper and Nancy M. Leak on Pinterest.

Watch The Kissing Hand on YouTube

Classic Picture Book CLICK CLACK MOO Cows that Type

Posted on July 1st, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts Looks at CLICK CLACK MOO Cows that TypeCLICK CLACK MOO Cows that Type written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Classic Picture Book published by Simon and Schuster





Today we are continuing our Classic Picture Book series with a look at CLICK CLACK MOO Cows that Type. Originally published in 2001, it is a must-read for young children.

When Farmer Brown’s cows get their hooves on an old typewriter, they put it to excellent use. They communicate with the farmer via a series of brief messages:

Dear Farmer Brown,
The barn is very cold
at night.
We’d like some electric
blankets.
Sincerely,
The Cows”

Initially Farmer Brown decides to ignore the cows’ demand but he soon discovers that the cows hold the upper ‘hand.’ The determined cows go on strike and refuse to provide milk. Before long, the hens have sided with the cows. They are also cold and they halt egg production.Storytime Standouts features CLICK CLACK MOO Cows that Type

Poor Farmer Brown, his frustration with the upstart farm animals is clear. His farm simply must have milk and eggs.

CLICK CLACK MOO Cows that Type is a fun story that helps children to gain print awareness. The reader’s attention is drawn to letters, words and print. As well, Farmer Brown’s body language is great to watch. The terrific illustrations in the story encourage children to “read between the lines.”

A 2001 Caldecott Honor Book, CLICK CLACK MOO Cows that Type is a not-to-be-missed book for children aged three years and up.

2001 Charlotte Zolotow Award Nominee for Highly Commended Title
2002 Vermont’s Picture Book Awards: Red Clover
A 2001 ALA Notable Children’s Book for Younger Readers
2002 Charlotte Award (New York State Reading Association)
2001 Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award for Picture Book
2001 Book Sense Book of the Year Honor Book for Children’s Illustrated

CLICK CLACK MOO Cows that Type at Amazon.com

CLICK CLACK MOO Cows that Type at Amazon.ca

CLICK CLACK MOO Cows that Type Teaching Resources

CPALMS – Florida State University – CLICK CLACK MOO Cows that Type First Grade Close Reading Lesson

Education Miami Rosenfeld Legacy Project – Introduce the Jewish value of Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue

6 By 6 Interactive Spaces Kansas Statewide Early Literacy Library Program for CLICK CLACK MOO Cows that Type

Theater Works USA Study Guide – includes PDF printables (matching game, wordsearch, sequencing activity)

PBS Kids – Cornerstones Lesson Guide (two week teaching unit) for CLICK CLACK MOO Cows that Type

Some related picture books that young readers will enjoy

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board CLICK, CLACK, MOO Cows that Type on Pinterest.

Watch CLICK CLACK MOO Cows that Type on YouTube

Wonderful Canadian Picture Books

Posted on June 28th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books

I couldn’t possibly create a list of Top Ten Canadian Picture Books or Even Favorite Canadian Picture Books – there are far too many wonderful Canadian picture books to consider.

For this list, I selected great Canadian picture books for a read aloud setting – perhaps circle time in a classroom or storytime in a library. All of the authors are Canadian. In a couple of instances the illustrators are not.

Many of these authors and illustrators have created several wonderful books for children. We invite you to use this list as an introduction to wonderful Canadian Picture Books





Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books including Bearcub and MamaBearcub and Mama written by Sharon Jennings and illustrated by Mélanie Watt
Canadian Picture Book about the relationship between mother and child published by Kids Can Press

Rich, warm, luminous illustrations enhance the story of a young cub and his mama. As the cub grows, he gains independence and gets separated from his loving, supportive and encouraging mother. Thankfully, he remembers the lessons she taught him and returns, through a snowstorm, to their cave. When he awakens in the morning, she is right there beside him. A lovely and reassuring story, best suited for preschool children.

Bearcub and Mama at Amazon.com

Bearcub and Mama at Amazon.ca

Also by Mélanie Watt – Scaredy Squirrel and Chester’s Masterpiece. Also by Sharon Jennings – No Monsters Here

Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books including The Blue Hippopotamus
The Blue Hippopotamus – written by Phoebe Gilman and illustrated by Joanne Fitgerald
Canadian picture book published by Scholastic Canada

A finalist for the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Awards, The Blue Hippopotamus is the story of a little hippo who falls in love with the Pharoah’s daughter. When he comes to the sad realization that the young girl will not love a hippo, he seeks the help of a magician and is changed into a clay toy. His love for the girl endures for many years and, when he observes her loneliness as a young woman, he unselfishly wishes for her happiness. His generosity is magically rewarded and he is once again transformed.

Blue Hippopotamus at Amazon.com

Blue Hippopotamus at Amazon.ca

Also by Phoebe Gilman – Jillian Jiggs and Something From Nothing. Also by Joanne Fitzgerald – Yum! Yum!!: Delicious Nursery Rhymes

Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books including Ella  May and the Wishing StoneElla May and the Wishing Stone written by Cary Fagan and illustrated by Geneviève Côté
Canadian picture book about friendship, problem solving published by Tundra Books

While on a trip to the beach, Ella May is fortunate to find an extra special stone – a stone that has a white line all around it. Certain that her extra special stone has the power to grant wishes, Ella May decides that her first wish should be to show the stone to all of her friends. Before long, Ella May’s friends have gathered ’round her, hoping to touch the magical stone. When Ella May refuses to let them hold it, they decide to find their own special stones. Although the children find all sorts of interesting stones, none is equal to Ella May’s.

  • “You’re not nice,” Manuel said. He put his stone in his pocket and tromped down the sidewalk to his own house.
  • Ella May watched him go, “Hey,” she said, “I wanted Manuel to go home and he did. Thank you again, wishing stone.”
  • Unable to find their own wishing stones, Ella’s friends come up with a creative but short-lived solution to the problem. Unfortunately, nothing resolves the conflict amongst the children; Ella May wants to be the only person with a wishing stone and she wants to keep her friends. The other children are resentful of the stone and of Ella May.

    When Ella May finally realizes that having a wishing stone is not nearly as special as having friends, the stage is set for a happy and imaginative solution that reunites the group.

    A great choice for children aged four and up, Ella May and the Wishing Stone is a (32 page) story that invites readers to think about what it means to be a friend, how best to share treasured items and imaginative ways to solve problems.

    Note – illustrations and children’s names depict a racially diverse group of friends.

    Ella May and the Wishing Stone at Amazon.com

    Ella May and the Wishing Stone at Amazon.ca

    Also by Cary Fagan – Book of Big Brothers and My New Shirt. Also by Geneviève Côté – What Elephant?

    Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books including The Hockey TreeThe Hockey Tree written by David Ward and illustrated by Brian Deines
    Canadian picture book published by Scholastic Canada

    This is a favourite wintertime picture book that beautifully captures a Canadian winter day. Set in Saskatchewan, Owen and Holly are excited because Humboldt Lake has finally frozen over and it is a perfect morning for a spirited game of pond hockey. The two children are excited to drive to the lake with their dad and before long their skates are laced and the three are laughing and playing together. Unfortunately, just as the family starts to talk about taking a break and enjoying a mug of steaming hot chocolate, Holly smacks at the puck and it flies across the frozen lake and into an ice fishing hole.

    The children are terribly disappointed that they’ve lost their puck and assume that the game will have to end. Dad is not quite so willing to concede. He helps Owen and Holly to find a fallen poplar tree near the lake. Once a suitable tree is found, dad saws a piece from the trunk to create a wooden puck and the hockey game resumes.

    Brian Deines’ luminous illustrations include icy cold winter scenes that are made warm by his depiction of the joy of playing a favourite sport with friends and family.

    A lovely book to share with young children, this is one of my favourite wintertime picture books.

    The Hockey Tree at Amazon.com

    The Hockey Tree at Amazon.ca

    Also by David Ward – One Hockey Night. Also by Brian Deines – Camping and Bear on the Train

    Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books including I Want My Hat BackI Want My Hat Back written and illustrated by Jon Klassen
    Canadian Picture Book published by Candlewick Press

    Poor Bear, he has lost his pointy, red hat. He searches the forest, politely asking, “Have you seen my hat?” He meets Fox, Frog, Rabbit, Turtle, and Snake. None has seen his hat. Bear is bereft and despondent. He frets that his hat is gone forever.

    When Deer finally asks, “What does your hat look like?” Bear remembers something important.

    Picture book, I Want My Hat Back is a breath of fresh air with a hint of mystery and a touch of revenge.

    Best suited to older readers, adults and children (aged five and up) will thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to “read between the lines” and enjoy Klassen’s gallows humor.

    Would I read it to a group of three year olds? “Maybe not.” Would I read it to a group of jaded six year olds who think they know all there is to know about picture books? “You betcha!”

    Storytime kit from Candlewick Press – includes I Want My Hat Back activities.

    I Want My Hat Back at Amazon.com

    I Want My Hat Back at Amazon.ca

    Also by Jon Klassen – This is Not My Hat and Cat’s Night Out

    Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books including The Imaginary GardenThe Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher
    Canadian Picture Book published by Kids Can Press

    Theo is blessed to have a very special relationship with her grandfather, Poppa. When Poppa moves into an apartment, they decide to create an imaginary garden on his balcony. The first Saturday of spring is marked by the arrival of a giant, blank canvas. Before long, Poppa and Theo have created a long stone wall and beautiful blue sky. Soon they have added beautiful spring flowers to their masterpiece. When Poppa leaves for a holiday, Theo worries about tending their special garden by herself. With gentleness and love, Poppa assures her that she will know what will nurture their imaginary garden. This lovely picture book would be a great gift for a special Grandpa.

    The Imaginary Garden at Amazon.com

    The Imaginary Garden at Amazon.ca

    Also by Andrew Larsen – In the Tree House

    Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books including The Paper Bag Princess The Paperbag Princess written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
    Canadian picture book published by Annick Press

    Princess Elizabeth is betrothed to Prince Ronald when a large dragon destroys her kingdom, including all of her clothing. Wearing nothing but a paper bag, the very resourceful Princess Elizabeth sets out to rescue her fiancé. When Elizabeth finds the dragon’s cave, she challenges the dragon to prove that he can burn up five forests with just one firey breath. The flattered dragon not only burns up forests, he also flies around the world until exhausted.

    Once the dragon is well and truly asleep, Elizabeth finds Prince Ronald who is not nearly as grateful as he ought to be. He is unimpressed with her hair and unimpressed with her clothing and he’d rather she looked like a princess.

    A delightful story that depicts the princess as rescuer and the prince as a shallow ingrate, The Paperbag Princess is a great resource for exploring stereotypes.

    The Paper Bag Princess at Amazon.com

    The Paper Bag Princess at Amazon.ca

    Also by Robert Munsch – Love You Forever, We Share Everything and many other books. Also by Michael Matchenko – Mortimer and I Have to Go!

    Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books including Picture a TreePicture a Tree – written and illustrated by Barbara Reid
    Canadian picture book published by North Winds Press, an imprint of Scholastic Canada

    Marvelous Plasticine illustrations may initially distract young readers from the thought-provoking text in Picture a Tree. Using a combination of Plasticine and paint, Ms. Reid has created beautiful, richly detailed images of trees and the variety of people living, working and playing near them.

    Readers are encouraged to notice how trees, whether enormous or freshly planted, change through the year, how various creatures dwell in trees and how the life cycle of a tree can be viewed metaphorically. A variety of perspectives are also shown as Ms. Reid illustrates shadows of trees, more than one reflection and the view from above a forest of trees.

    You may see a drawing on the sky. A game of dress-up. The first drops of colour then all the art supplies at once.

    Simply beautiful, Picture a Tree is sure to inspire young artists and encourage environmental awareness. It is suitable for children aged four and up.

    Picture a Tree at Amazon.com

    Picture a Tree at Amazon.ca

    Also by Barbara Reid – The Subway Mouse, The Night Before Christmas, Perfect Snow, Sing a Song of Mother Goose

    Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books including Pink by Nan Gregory and Luc MelandsonPink – written by Nan Gregory and illustrated by Luc Melanson
    Canadian Picture book published by Groundwood Books

    We’ve all seen them, “The Pinks,” Vivi calls them, but not out loud. Every day at school they parade their glory – from hair bows to tippy toes, every shade of perfect pink.”

    Poor Vivi would love to be just like “The Pinks.” Her rather ordinary world is not at all pink. She lives, with her blue collar parents and her baby brother, in a brown working class world that leaves her yearning. Her parents are not unaware of her desire to be a “Pink,” they have had their share of disappointments but they have found ways to accept and live within their means.

    One day, when Vivi is running an errand for her mom, she discovers the ultimate pink treasure. She sees a beautiful doll, dressed in a cascading pink bridal gown. It is displayed prominently in the window of an exclusive neighbourhood shop. Vivi feels she must have it so she does chores and small jobs all winter to earn money. She saves and saves in order to buy the beautiful doll. She is certain that having the spectacular doll will enable her to live like the wealthy “Pink” girls she sees at school.

    Pink is a marvelous story that is both poignant and thoughtful. Vivi wants so much to be a “Pink” and her young heart is filled to bursting with desire for the doll. When Vivi witnesses one of the “Pinks” leaving the store with “her” doll, she is heartbroken but ultimately enriched by the experience.

    It would have been so easy to create a magical happy ending and have Vivi’s world become a pink one. Thankfully, Ms. Gregory understands that life is not always fair and that if we take time to look, beauty (and especially pink) is all around us. When sharing this thoughtful story with a child, be sure to take note of Mr. Melanson’s illustrations and especially his masterful depictions of Vivi’s emotions.

    Very highly recommended, for children four and up.

    Pink at Amazon.com

    Pink at Amazon.ca

    Also by Nan Gregory – How Smudge Came Also by Luc Melanson – Book of Big Brothers

    Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books including The Pirates of Captain McKeeThe Pirates of Captain McKee! written by Julie Lawson and illustrated by Werner Zimmermann
    Canadian Picture Book published by Scholastic Canada

    Originally published as Whatever You Do, Don’t Go Near that Canoe, The Pirates of Captain McKee is a rollicking adventure story that will have broad appeal to young children, especially those who love pirates.

    A nominee for The 1996 Canada Council for the Arts Governor General’s Literacy Award for illustration, The Pirates of Captain McKee tells the story of two children, a brother and sister, who are warned not to go near a canoe. The warning, given by Captain Kelsey McKee, is accompanied by a wink so the children are undeterred. They don lifejackets and climb into the canoe. Before long they find themselves well away from the dock.

    Through fast-running currents, through slow-rolling tides,
    Far into the fading light,
    Through sun flecks and sunset, through dusk’s purple haze,
    The canoe sped into the night.

    Although returning to the safety of home seems a great idea, the children are not in control. The magical canoe is deciding their course. Just before dawn, the canoe and the children approach a pirate ship at anchor and many, many intimidating pirates onshore. The pirates recognize the canoe and decide to teach the children a lesson. Frightened about their predicament, the children fear the worst until they notice a “marvellous smell… There’s marshmallows roasting round here!”

    Gorgeous illustrations and delightful rhyming text make this a wonderful read aloud for children aged four and up.

    The Pirates of Captain McKee at Amazon.com

    The Pirates of Captain McKee at Amazon.ca

    Also by Julie Lawson – The Klondike Cat, Emma and the Silk Train Also by Werner Zimmerman – Pippin the Christmas Pig and Snow Day

    Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books including Stella Fairy of the ForestStella, Fairy of the Forest – written & illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
    Canadian Picture book published by Groundwood Books

    Marie-Louise Gay’s picture books about Sam and Stella are marvelous. This, their third adventure, begins when Sam asks Stella about fairies. Stella knows just where to find some. She leads Sam on a pleasant walk through gorgeous meadows, across a sparkling stream and into a magical forest.

    This Stella and Sam story is truly lovely especially in its treatment of the siblings’ relationship. Sam, who is nervous, clearly looks up to his confident older sister and Stella is more than happy to share her knowledge of the outdoors and all things magical with her younger brother.

    Ms. Gay’s distinctive illustrations have a luminous quality, particularly her depictions of the delightful red-head heroine, Stella. Don’t miss it!

    32 pages and suitable for children aged three and up. Stella, Fairy of the Forest is well- suited to circle time and could be used as part of a preschool or kindergarten Family or Forest theme.

    Marie Louise Gay’s website includes printable stickers, colouring sheets, posters and bookmarks

    Stella, Fairy of the Forest at Amazon.com

    Stella, Fairy of the Forest at Amazon.ca

    Also by Marie-Louise Gay – On My Island and Caramba

    Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books including A Sack Full of FeathersA Sack Full of Feathers
    Written by Debby Waldman and illustrated by Cindy Revell
    Canadian Picture Book published by Orca Book Publishers

    Young Yankel is a storyteller. He overhears bits of news at his father’s store and excitedly shares the gossip throughout the village.

    One day a wise rabbi gives Yankel a job; he is to put one feather on each doorstep in the village. Puzzled, Yankel willingly distributes the feathers even as gusts of wind send some flying.

    When the rabbi subsequently asks Yankel to collect all the feathers and return them to the sack, Yankel comes to understand the danger of gossip.

    A delightful folktale is retold in A Sack Full of Feathers with engaging illustrations and warmth.

    A Sack Full of Feathers at Amazon.com

    Sack Full of Feathers at Amazon.ca

    Also by Debby Waldman and Cindy Revell – Clever Rachel

    Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books including Timmerman was HereTimmerman Was Here written by Colleen Sydor and illustrated by Nicolas Debon
    Canadian Picture Book published by Tundra Books

    Timmerman Was Here is written from the perspective of a young girl. We share her nervousness as a stranger arrives at her home. The stranger moves into a bedroom, recently vacated by the girl’s grandfather who has gone to live in a residence for seniors. The young girl is not happy about the stranger’s arrival but as she watches and interacts with him, she discovers a gentle heart. When the stranger is discovered walking the neighbourhood at night (with a spade and a burlap sack), gossip abounds. The neighbours speculate that he could be a bank robber or responsible for the death of a cat.

    Timmerman Was Here is a lovely, thought-provoking picture book that encourages the reader to rethink assumptions and stereotypes. Highly recommended.

    Suggested for children 4 – 8

    Timmerman Was Here at Amazon.com

    Timmerman Was Here at Amazon.ca

    Also by Nicolas Debon A Brave Soldier and Thing-Thing

    Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books including Under a Prairie SkyUnder a Prairie Sky written by Anne Laurel Carter and illustrated by Alan and Lea Daniel
    Canadian picture book published by Orca Book Publishers

    Under a Prairie Sky features detailed, striking watercolour illustrations and the equally dramatic text. A terrific Canadian picture book read aloud for four and five year olds, Under a Prairie Sky is the story of a farm boy who aspires to be a RCMP Officer when he grows up. While harvesting wheat with his father, he is sent to find his younger brother before a storm arrives at the farm. Knowing that this is a job that will demand the detective skills of a Mounted Police Officer, he quickly changes his clothes, dons a Stetson and mounts his trusty black horse. He follows young Will’s trail through the fields and into the wild, taking in flora and fauna native to the Canadian prairies.

    Under a Prairie Sky at Amazon.com

    Under a Prairie Sky at Amazon.ca

    Also from Anne Laurel Carter – The F Team and Tall in the Saddle Also from Alan and Lea Daniel – The Best Figure Skater in the Whold Wide World

    Storytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books including You're Mean Lily JeanYou’re Mean, Lily Jean written by Frieda Wishinsky and illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
    Canadian Picture Book published by North Winds Press, an imprint of Scholastic Canada

    You’re Mean, Lily Jean tells the story of a new girl who moves into the neighbourhood. Lily Jean is the same age as Sandy and is domineering and a braggart. She joins Sandy and her younger sister Carly for a couple of playdates. Lily Jean does not want Carly to be a part of their imaginary games and each time the three girls play together, Lily Jean dictates what they will play and how they will play. She gives the younger sister, Carly, the less desirable “parts” in their imaginary world. Lily Jean and Sandy are the king and queen, Carly is told to be the dog. Lily and Sandy are cowgirls, Carly is told to be the cow. “She did not want to moo or eat grass, but Lily Jean said she had to if she wanted to play. So she did.”

    Lily Jean’s smug appearance and Carly’s bitter disappointment are depicted beautifully by Ms. Denton. Readers will cheer for Carly when Sandy decides she would prefer to play with her younger sister than with an overbearing bully.

    You’re Mean Lily Jean is best suited to children four and up. It offers many opportunities for children to consider each girl’s perspective and ways to resolve difficult social situations.

    You’re Mean, Lily Jean at Amazon.com

    You’re Mean, Lily Jean at Amazon.ca

    Also from Frieda Wishinsky – Oonga Boonga, Give Maggie a Chance and Please, Louise!

    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie – Classic Picture Book Fun

    Posted on June 24th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Classic Picture Book Fun from Storytime StandoutsIf You Give a Mouse a Cookie written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond
    Classic Picture Book published by Harper Collins Publishers





    When I explained to my family that I am writing a series of posts about classic picture books, my youngest son told me that I must include If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and my husband immediately added that he always enjoyed reading it aloud.

    If you sit down outside your house to enjoy a chocolate chip cookie and if a mouse in blue coveralls should appear you will, of course, be tempted to share the treats. It won’t be long ’til you are headed into the house to satisfy your guest’s need for a glass of milk. It is almost impossible for a mouse to drink from a tall glass so he’ll ask for a straw and then a napkin (to eliminate a milk mustache).Storytime Standouts features Classic Picture Book,  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

    Delightful illustrations enhance this wonderful, circular story and add extra “inside jokes” that children will enjoy. Who could imagine that when the mouse decides to trim his hair he will find so much to cut and scatter around the otherwise neat and tidy bathroom? The young boy whose generosity led to an ongoing “make work project” is kept running as his small companion’s demands continue.

    Great fun for children aged four years and up.

    Mouse Cookie Books website

    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie at Amazon.com

    If You Give A Mouse A Cookie at Amazon.ca


    Follow Storytime Standouts’s board If You Give a Mouse a Cookie on Pinterest.

    We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, a Classic Picture Book

    Posted on June 17th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

    Storytime Standouts Presents We're Going on a Bear Hunt a Classic Picture BookWe’re Going on a Bear Hunt written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
    Classic Picture Book published by Walker Books





    Dad and four children head out for adventure in this classic picture book for preschool-age children. Based on a traditional campers’ chant, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is simply wonderful. Ms. Oxenbury’s illustrations alternate between black and white drawings and gorgeous watercolor paintings. The effect is spectacular, highlighting the repetitive text and onomatopoeia.

    Tension builds as the young explorers encounter a grassy field, a river, mud, a forest and snow before they arrive at a cave.We’re Going on a Bear Hunt spread

    “Uh-oh! A cave!
    A narrow gloomy cave.
    We can’t go over it.
    We can’t go under it.
    Oh no!
    We’ve got to go through it!”

    Winner of the 1989 Smarties Book Prize, this is a classic picture book that will be enjoyed by children aged three years and up. It is available in many formats including Board Book, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, Big Book and Jigsaw Book.

    We’re Going on a Bear Hunt at Amazon.com

    We’re Going on a Bear Hunt at Amazon.ca

    Free Printable traditional campers’ chant

    image of PDF icon  We're Going on a Bear Hunt

    Predictable text, rhyming and opportunities for dramatic play make this chant a favorite with children.

    Lesson Plans

    Lesson Plan from Scholastic

    Lesson Plan from Teaching Ideas

    Lesson plan from Walker Books


    Follow Storytime Standouts’s board We’re Going on a Bear Hunt on Pinterest.

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? A Classic, Must-Read Picture Book

    Posted on June 10th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

    Our goal with this new ‘Tuesday’ series is to introduce wonderful, classic picture books that are readily available in community libraries, in classrooms and in school libraries. We hope this on-going series will help families to discover outstanding stories and illustrations that have stood the test of time. We also hope that, through this series, young children and their caregivers will discover the joys of the read aloud experience.

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? A Classic Must-Read Picture BookBrown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? written by Bill Martin Jr and illustrated by Eric Carle
    Classic, Must-Read Picture Book published by Henry Holt and Company





    Gorgeous, bold tissue paper collage illustrations and simple rhyming text will have broad appeal for infants, toddlers and preschool-age children. It will not be long before youngsters will know the text from beginning to (satisfying) end. For some children, this will be the first book they ‘read.’

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a picture book that provides opportunities for young children to learn about colors and animal names while gaining phonemic awareness. The repetitive and predictable text includes some alliteration.

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? was named one of School Library Journal’s Top 100 Picture Books.

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? at Amazon.com

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? at Amazon.ca

    Some related picture books that young readers will enjoy

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – read by (author) Bill Martin Jr.

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – with musical accompaniament

    – lyrics refer to “a mother looking at us.”

    Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? on Pinterest.

    Harry the Dirty Dog – A Classic Picture Book You Won’t Want to Miss

    Posted on June 3rd, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

    Harry the Dirty Dog - A Classic Picture Book Recommended by Storytime StandoutsHarry the Dirty Dog written by Gene Zion and illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham




    Harry the Dirty Dog was first published in 1956. It is the story of a strong-willed, adventurous dog who does not want to be bathed. He is so determined to avoid the bath that he takes the scrubbing brush and buries it in his backyard. Once the brush is hidden, he hits the road. Harry the Dirty Dog bathtub spread

    Not one to shy away from dirt, this charming white dog with black spots is soon visiting a construction site, playing near a rail yard, romping through water pipes and climbing onto piles of dirt. Everywhere Harry goes, there are opportunities for him to get dirty and, when he arrives home, he is so dirty that his family does not recognize him. He has become a black dog with white spots. Fortunately, while roaming, Harry has had a change of heart. He is keen to jump into the bath and to be back home, surrounded by his loving family.

    A classic picture book for preschool-age children, Harry the Dirty Dog is the first of four stories about this endearing pup. Children will also be happy to read Harry by the Sea, No Roses for Harry and Harry and the Lady Next Door.

    The National Education Association named the book one of its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children.”

    Harry the Dirty Dog at Amazon.com

    Harry The Dirty Dog at Amazon.ca


    Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Harry the Dirty Dog on Pinterest.

    Me + cute book = really happy

    Posted on May 24th, 2014 by Jody

    this plus that Life's Little Equations by Amy K. RosenthalThis plus That: Life’s Little Equations written by Amy K. Rosenthal and illustrated by Jen Corace
    Picture book published by Harper Collins Children’s Books





    One of the cutest picture books I’ve read, and now in my favorites pile, is This plus That: Life’s little equations . This adorable book was introduced to me by Adrienne Gear (who knows all the good books) at a workshop. My students (and my children) know that I have a serious love of picture books. I love the way they share morals and lessons in less words than you’d imagine possible. This book not only uses the combination of pictures and words to share a number of sweet life lessons it does so in the form of equations. An example of one is book + chair = cozy. That one is on the back of the book. In the opening of the book, before the story starts, she uses Amy+ Rosenthal= author. It’s just such a cute way to break down a number of things: how things work together to add up or take away from something. How adding things together makes them more. How the four operations are used in a completely different context than we’re used to. How, really, life is full of simple equations that either do or do not work. This is a great classroom read or at home read. It’s a book that offers many teaching opportunities. We created Mother’s Day cards that used equations to add up what made each student’s mom. Some of them were pretty funny. This plus that is an excellent example of how in life, and in books, sometimes, less is more.

    This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations at Amazon.com

    This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations at Amazon.ca

    Read our post about Amy K. Rosenthal’s Exclamation Mark

    Storytime Standouts looks at Exclamation Mark by  Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld




    Terrific Picture Books About Fathers and Fatherhood

    Posted on May 23rd, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

    Storytime Standouts Recommends Picture Books About Fathers and Fatherhood



    Some of our favorite picture books about fathers and fatherhood together with free printables and a link to our Father’s Day board on Pinterest.











    Dad and Pop: An Ode to Fathers and StepfathersDad and Pop: An Ode to Fathers and Stepfathers written by Kelly Bennett and illustrated by Paul Meisel
    Picture book about fathers published by Candlewick Press



    Dad and Pop: An Ode to Fathers and Stepfathers is the story of the two special men in a young girl’s life. Outwardly they are very different. They wear different clothes and they have different hobbies but, there are also similarities between the two men. Both teach the girl to how to cook and both enjoy music.

    Pop is bald. Dad is not.
    Dad is tall. Pop is not.
    Dad wears suits. Pop wears boots.
    Pop takes pictures. Dad takes naps.

    This breezy, happy look at a family that includes both a ‘Dad’ and a ‘Pop’ celebrates differences and commonalities. A good choice for children aged four years and up.

    Dad and Pop: An Ode to Fathers and Stepfathers at Amazon.com

    Dad and Pop: An Ode to Fathers and Stepfathers at Amazon.ca

    Daddy Hugs 123 is included in Storytime Standouts Terrific Picture Books About Fathers and FatherhoodDaddy Hugs 123 written and illustrated by Karen Katz
    Counting book about an infant and her father published by Margaret K. McElderry Books



    Bright, cheery illustrations depict a baby girl and her father. As the day unfolds, they share all sorts of affectionate, happy moments.

    One “I’m so glad you’re my baby!” hug. Two teeny, tiny finger hugs. Three pat and burp the baby hugs.”

    A great choice for infants and toddlers, Daddy Hugs 1 2 3 is all the more special because it shows a dad who takes responsibility for all aspects of his daughter’s care.

    Daddy Hugs 123 at Amazon.com

    Daddy Hugs 123 at Amazon.ca

    Every Friday is included in Storytime Standouts Terrific Picture Books About Fathers and FatherhoodEvery Friday written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
    Picture book about a boy’s relationship with his father published by Henry Holt and Company


    Such a lovely story – an excellent choice for preschool storytime or a bedtime story. Each Friday, a young boy and his dad leave their city apartment and walk through the bustling streets. They walk past shops and building sites, people rushing to work and people who are already going about their business.

    Everyone is rushing, but we’re taking our time. We get friendly waves and we give them right back.”

    Eventually they arrive at a familiar diner. They sit together in a booth, enjoy breakfast, chat and watch the world go by. Their happy relationship and joy in being each other’s company is clear and very endearing.

    Every Friday at Amazon.com

    Every Friday at Amazon.ca

    I’d Know You AnywhereI’d Know You Anywhere written by Hazel Hutchins and illustrated by Ruth Ohi
    Picture book about a child’s relationship with his father published by Annick Press Ltd



    This story is especially suitable for a Dad’s Day at preschool or for celebrating Father’s Day. Young Jeremy attempts to hide amongst the toys in his bedroom. Daddy finds Jeremy and reassures him that he would know him anywhere and in any form. The father-son game continues as Jeremy imagines wonderful hiding places and disguises. He could disguise himself and hide near a creek or in the ocean or up in the sky…

    If I became a sheep
    upon a mountainside,
    one of many thousand sheep,
    a woolly, moving tide-
    If I became a sheep,
    would you know me then?

    Daddy reassures his son that no matter where Jeremy might hide, he would find him.

    Reminiscent of The Runaway Bunny, I’d Know You Anywhere concludes with Daddy and Jeremy disguising themselves and sneeking up on mom.

    Ruth Ohi’s illustrations do a lovely job of depicting the playful relationship between father and son. The story is best suited to very young children, aged two and up.

    I’d Know You Anywhere at Amazon.com

    I’d Know You Anywhere at Amazon.ca

    Little Boy written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Peter H. ReynoldsLittle Boy written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
    Picture book about a father and his appreciation for his son published by Simon Says Kids


    A lovely picture book, Little Boy is a celebration of play and a reminder – especially for adults – that small moments can have great meaning and impact. We watch from morning until night as a young boy plays with his dog, enjoys time in the out-of-doors, has fun with a large cardboard box, helps with cooking, plays with his toys and spends time with his dad.

    Little boy, so much depends on a blue mixing bowl,
    a ball in the goal,
    the tree that fell,
    that wet-dog smell, and…
    your big cardboard box.

    Note,although the adult male in the illustrations is not specifically named, we assume he is the boy’s father.

    Little Boy is a great gift book for expectant parents and also dads. Do take time to enjoy Peter H. Reynolds’ illustrations. Each page tells a story and children will enjoy watching for the boy’s toy robot and his yellow cup as they accompany him throughout the day.

    Little Boy at Amazon.com

    Little Boy at Amazon.ca





    My Father Knows the Names of Things written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Stephane JorischMy Father Knows the Names of Things written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch
    Picture book about a boy’s relationship with his father published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers



    A happy celebration of the relationship between a boy and his father. It is clear that the pair enjoys spending time together and they have fun adventures – flying in a small airplane, snorkeling, riding bikes, painting and studying insects. All the while, the boy is learning from his father.

    My father knows the names of things,
    Each different sort of bell that rings,
    And stones,
    And knows the names of planets,
    Stars,
    And even human bones.

    Mr. Jorisch’s joyful illustrations capture emotions and the the pair’s close relationship. Will be enjoyed by children aged four years and up.

    My Father Knows the Names of Things at Amazon.com

    My Father Knows the Names of Things at Amazon.ca

    Owl Moon is included in Storytime Standouts Terrific Picture Books About Fathers and Fatherhood
    Owl Moon – written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr
    Picture book published by Philomel



    In 1988 the Caldecott Medal was awarded to Owl Moon. A special 20th anniversary edition is now available and provides an opportunity to discover the picture book’s wonderful, timeless magic.

    It is very late at night when a father and his young daughter venture into the cold. They are seeking a glimpse of a great horned owl. The companions walk together silently and eagerly under an Owl Moon.

    Beautifully illustrated, this is a remarkable book that will be enjoyed by the entire family. The depiction of the young girl’s excitement will no doubt inspire parents to bend their bedtime rules and enjoy a moonlit, late night walk.

    Owl Moon at Amazon.com

    Owl Moon at Amazon.ca

    Some Dads... written and illustrated by Nick BlandSome Dads… written and illustrated by Nick Bland
    Picture book about fathers published by Scholastic



    In his cheery tribute to fathers, Nick Bland depicts all sorts of animal parents exuberantly interacting with their offspring. We laugh at an over-protective elephant papa who fills a swimming pool with life rings and a mischievous sheep who can’t resist throwing a water balloon at his child.

    Readers, both young and old, will enjoy the playful rhyming and the jubilant illustrations. Some Dads… is an excellent choice for Father’s Day or Dads’ Day at preschool, delivering a fun and affectionate message about diversity and unconditional love.

    Some dads like strolling.
    And some dads rock ‘n rolling.
    And some dads just love the outdoors.

    Well suited to children aged two and up.

    Some Dads… at Amazon.com

    Some Dads… at Amazon.ca

    The Very Best Daddy of All written by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Leslie WuThe Very Best Daddy of All written by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Leslie Wu
    Picture book about fathers published by Aladdin Paperbacks, Simon & Schuster



    Beautiful pastel illustrations are the highlight of this tribute to animal fathers and their offspring. Children will enjoy looking at a variety of male mammals, amphibians and birds as they feed, groom, house, protect and play with their offspring.

    Some tuck you in, safe and warm, when the sun’s about to go.
    And my daddy… haven’t you guessed? From all of the daddies, tall or small, mine is the best, the very best, the very best daddy of all.

    Great for children aged two years and up.

    The Very Best Daddy of All (Classic Board Books) at Amazon.com

    The Very Best Daddy of All at Amazon.ca

    What Does Daddy Do? written and illustrated by Rachel BrightWhat Does Daddy Do? written and illustrated by Rachel Bright
    Picture book about a girl’s questions about her father published by Puffin



    An energetic, colorful and imaginative look at what Daisy’s dad does when he is at work and she is at school and playing with her friends.

    “My daddy is an explorer!” said Daisy.
    “Is he?” said Evie.
    “Yes, he is!” said Daisy. “He climbs to highest of high-up places because he has mountains of paperwork to get on top of.”

    Best suited to children aged four and up, older children will have fun with the author/illustrator’s treatment of Daisy’s interpretation of Daddy’s job description.

    Note, onomatopoeia (Nee Nar, Nee Nar, Nee Nar / Boom Boom) is featured.

    What Does Daddy Do? at Amazon.com

    What Does Daddy Do? at Amazon.ca






    Free printable Father's Day Writing Paper for Kids

    Free Father’s Day Printables for Children

    Step 1 – Make sure you have Adobe Reader. If you don’t have it, please click on the ‘Get Adobe Reader’ button to install it for free.image for Adobe Reader


    Step 2 – Pin this page, bookmark this page, share this page, “Like” us on Facebook or sign up for our newsletter.


    Step 3 – Choose from any of our 250 free downloads, including these free Father’s Day printables.


    image of PDF icon  Father's Day Word Search

    image of PDF icon  Father's Day Interlined Paper

    image of PDF icon  Father's Day Golf Interlined Paper

    image of PDF icon  Father's Day #1 Dad Interlined Paper

    Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Father’s Day for Preschool and Kindergarten on Pinterest.

    Picture Books About Moms and Motherhood

    Posted on May 10th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

    Storytime Standouts Looks at Picture Books About Moms and Motherhood

    So many ways to explore the special bond between a mother and child. Just like My Mum is playful, Mama, Do You Love Me? is informative, The Best Gifts is supportive, The Runaway Bunny is reassuring and Mom and Me is revealing…













    Storytime Standouts looks at Picture Books About Moms including The Best GiftsThe Best Gifts written by Marsha Furchuk Skrypuch and illustrated by Elly MacKay
    Picture book about family life including breastfeeding published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside



    This circular story begins with a joyous celebration. Family and friends visit a couple and their newborn baby, bringing gifts and celebrating the baby’s arrival. Once the guests leave,

    Sara’s mother opened her nightgown and drew her daughter near. Sara was wrapped in love and a light scent of sandalwood as the warmth of her mother’s milk swirled in her mouth and filled her tiny stomach. She fell into a happy sleep.

    In the years that follow, there are many celebrations – Sara’s fifth birthday, her graduation and her wedding day. On each occasion, the reader is reminded that the best gifts are (like breastfeeding) those than cannot be bought and that quiet moments with family create very special bonds.

    The Best Gifts is appropriate for children aged four years and up. Although it clearly shares a pro-breast feeding message, Ms Mackay’s illustrations also show us fathers who are very involved with child rearing and supportive of breast feeding.

    Afternotes include breast feeding resources for families

    The Best Gifts at Amazon.com

    The Best Gifts at Amazon.ca

    Storytime Standouts features Picture Books About Moms including Just Like My Mum David Melling Just Like My Mum written and illustrated by David Melling
    Picture book about a lion cub and his mum published by Hodder Children’s Books



    An engaging, fun picture book about the similarities between a lion cub and his mum. Young children will relate to the cub and his experiences from morning until nighttime. Adults will appreciate mum’s occasional impatience and her preference for dry games.

    “When I’m bored my mum doesn’t like it. She says, ‘Why don’t you do something?’ But when I do something… she says, ‘Just sit still for five minutes!”

    Delightful illustration make this good fun for children aged three and up.

    Just Like My Mum at Amazon.com

    Just Like My Mum at Amazon.ca

    Storytime Standouts looks at picture books about Moms including Mama, Do You Love Me?Mama, Do You Love Me? written by Barbara M. Joosse and illustrated by Barbara Lavallee
    Picture book about a mother’s unconditional love published by Chronicle Books



    In this best-selling, award winning picture book, a young girl asks ‘Mama, do you love me?’ Her mother promptly replies, ‘yes‘ but the girl is not satisfied. She wants to know ‘how much?’, ‘how long?’ and ‘what if?’ Gorgeous, rich illustrations of Arctic animals and features of Inuit culture contribute to this exceptional story of a mother’s love.

    A detailed glossary provides additional background information that will be of interest to older children

    ABC Choices for Children
    American Bookseller, “Pick of the Lists”
    Children’s Book of the Month Club, Main Selection
    Golden Kite Award, Society of Writers and Illustrators
    Parents, “Best Books of the Year”

    Mama, Do You Love Me? at Amazon.com

    Mama, Do You Love Me? at Amazon.ca

    Storytime Standouts looks at picture books about Moms including Mom and MeMom and Me by Marla Stewart Konrad
    Picture book about moms, part of World Vision Early Readers series published by Tundra Books



    The World Vision Early Readers series features minimal text and striking photographs from Romania, Uganda, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Pakistan, Cambodia, Vietnam. Mom and Me depicts young children being cared for by their mothers including mealtimes, bathing, going to school, doing chores and homework and sharing affectionate quiet time.

    The simple text is intended for beginning readers but I imagine this used to inspire discussions about diversity and universality in a (preschool or kindergarten) classroom setting.

    Mom and Me at Amazon.com

    Mom and Me at Amazon.ca

    Storytime Standouts looks at picture books about Moms including The Runaway Bunny written by Margaret Wise BrownThe Runaway Bunny written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd



    A classic picture book for very young children, The Runaway Bunny is the story of a little bunny who decides that he wants to run away from home. We don’t know what it is that has upset him but clearly he is seeking reassurance from his parent. His loving and steadfast Mother assures him that no matter where he might run and hide, she will follow and find him.

    “If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.”

    If you run after me,” said the little bunny, “I will become a fish in a trout stream and I will swim away from you.”

    Featuring colorful painterly sas well as pen and ink illustrations, this is a story that every young child should know.

    The Runaway Bunny at Amazon.com

    The Runaway Bunny at Amazon.ca

    We think you’ll also enjoy

    Storytime Standouts looks at Never Let You Go by Patricia StormsStorytime Standouts Recommends Mother's Day Picture BooksStorytime Standouts Looks at I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had KidsStorytime Standouts Looks at Mama's Little Book of Tricks








    Never Let You Go by Patricia Storms Celebrates the Special Bond Between Parent and Child

    Posted on May 6th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

    Storytime Standouts looks at Never Let You Go by Patricia StormsNever Let You Go written and illustrated by Patricia Storms
    Picture book celebrating love between an adult and a child published by Scholastic Canada





    I’ll be honest, I completely underestimated Never Let You Go when I first viewed the cover art. I assumed (wrongly) that it would be a treacly story about a mother’s love for her child. When I took time to carefully read the story and appreciate the playful illustrations, I discovered that this is indeed a special picture book that will be treasured by children and their adult caregivers.

    Readers may assume that Never Let You Go is about a mother’s love for her child but one could argue that it could also be interpreted as a portrayal of a father’s love or a grandparent’s love. The beauty of the author’s words is that the affection shared by the adult penguin and the young penguin makes no reference to gender or relationship. The story will ‘work’ for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. It will work for single parent families or families where the primary caregiver is not a parent.

    Spread from Never Let You Go by Patricia Storms

    Initially the adult penguin reassures the youngster, I will care for you, and treasure you always. And I will never let you go. But soon we discover, there will be times when the adult will give the child space to safely explore the world and gain independence. The adult won’t be there when nature calls or if the child is quietly working on a project. With humor, we discover that the adult prefers to grant space when the child has a tantrum and that the adult will visit with other adults while the boisterous young friends play together nearby.

    Recommended for children aged three years and up, bright, bold illustrations and breezy, affirming text make this a great read aloud for small groups.

    Never Let You Go at Amazon.ca

    Kid Lit Blog Hop

    Journey is Wonderful!

    Posted on January 29th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

    Wordless picture book JourneyJourney created by Aaron Becker
    Wordless picture book published by Candlewick Press




    Wondrous, beautiful, inspiring, magical

    So many words could accurately describe Journey. A wordless picture book, Journey is the story of a city-dwelling girl whose family members are occupied with chores and technology. As she sits, bored and perhaps lonely, on the front stoop, a neighboorhood boy stands nearby, holding a purple crayon. She goes inside the house and tries to engage her family members in play but they are busy. Disappointed, she goes to her bedroom. Moments later, she notices a red crayon on the bedroom floor. She picks it up, draws a doorway on her bedroom wall and escapes her boring, sepia-toned environment. Soon she is surrounded by gorgeous, glowing colors. Her magical red crayon allows her to create a rowboat, a hot air balloon and a magic carpet as she explores a mystical word, filled with unusual people, intriguing buildings and fascinating machines.

    In this wondrous world, she encounters the neighboorhood boy with the purple crayon, the circle is completed and she discovers a new friend.

    Highly recommended, Journey will be appreciated most by children aged four years and up. As well, adults will be inspired by both the illustrations and the narrative.

    Caldecott Honor Book 2014

    Journey at Amazon.com

    Journey at Amazon.ca

    ‘Journey’ Book Trailor

    How ‘Journey’ Came to Be


    Bluebird – Notable Wordless Picture Book Leaves Room for Discussion

    Posted on January 6th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

    We have a special affection for wordless picture books and books that explore bullying themes. Bluebird does both.

    Check out our page about other Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books

    Bluebird wordless picture book by Bob StaakeBluebird created by Bob Staake
    Wordless picture book published by Random House Children’s Books



    A small bluebird flies through a city, past an apartment building and toward a school. The bird perches in a tree and watches as a young boy approaches the school. Unlike the other students, he walks alone with his eyes turned downward. Whereas other children chatter happily with their friends, he is slow to walk into his new classroom and take his place. Once he is seated, two classmates laugh and point. For some reason, he is a lonely outcast and the object of ridicule.

    The hours tick by and, when the boy leaves school, he is surprised when the friendly bluebird initiates a friendship. The bird chirps at him and follows him through an urban neighborhood. They play hide and seek, they share a cookie, they watch as a group of children play soccer and they arrive at a park where the boy floats a sailboat in a pond. There is time for happy daydreaming and exploring before their adventure takes an ominous turn. The boy and the bird approach a wooded area and are soon met by three miserable bullies. One wants his toy sailboat and, to add force to his threats, he throws a stick, hitting the swooping bluebird. As the violent bullies run from the scene, the bereft boy stands, holding the injured bird.

    Highlighted by light blue, grey and white Adobe Photoshop-rendered illustrations, Bluebird is best suited to children aged five and up. With an ending that is open to interpretation, the author-illustrator leaves many questions unanswered. The boy is very much a solitary figure, we don’t know why he is on his own in a large city. We also don’t know why he is ridiculed by his classmates and bullied by the children in the park. This is not a story that satisfactorily resolves bullying rather it is a celebration of friendship. Young readers will have questions and opinions. They will engage in the narrative and, with encouragement, will think about the impact of bullying behavior.

    Bluebird at Amazon.com

    Bluebird at Amazon.ca

    Check out our page about other Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books

    Starred Reviews from
    Booklist, April 15, 2013:
    “Staake works out an impressive range of emotion… Without use of a single word, this book raises all kinds of simple profundities for kids to question, ponder, imagine, and discuss.”

    Publishers Weekly, February 25, 2013:
    “…believers and skeptics alike will find something deeply impressive and moving in this work of a singular, fully committed talent.”
    Subsequently named a “Best Book 2013” by Publishers Weekly

    Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2013:
    “Like nothing you have seen before.”

    Included in the Spring 2013 Great Reads from Indie Next List

    Publisher’s Weekly interview with Bob Staake

    Bluebird has been nominated for a 2013 Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Award



    In the Tree House – Andrew Larsen and Dušan Petričić

    Posted on January 1st, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

    In the Tree HouseIn the Tree House written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Dušan Petričić
    Picture Book published by Kids Can Press



    One of my favorite parenting memories involves snuggling with my sons and watching the Perseid Meteor Showers. When they were young, we scheduled an annual camping trip with friends so that we would be away from city lights and able to watch for shooting stars. I will never forget the experience of sitting beachside in a folding chair with one of my sons on my lap. We would wrap a blanket around us and wait. Most years there were eight of us searching for the dramatic streaks of light across the night sky. Each time a meteor appeared, there would be squeals of delight, “Oh, did you see THAT one?”

    Andrew Larsen’s In the Tree House tells of a young boy who is feeling the changes that time brings. He and his family move into a new house and, instead of sharing with an older brother, he has his own room. He misses having his brother in his room and he has trouble falling asleep. He uses his wakefulness to plan treehouses. He’s excited when his brother starts drawing treehouses and he’s thrilled when his dad agrees to make his dream a reality. It is not long before Dad and sons are perched up high, gazing at the night sky.Storytime Standouts looks at In the Tree House

    “Why arent there any stars?” I asked between gulps of lemonade.

    “They’re up there,” Dad said. “We just can’t see them,”

    He explained how the lights from the city make the sky too bright for us to see the stars shine.

    They boys love spending their summer in the tree house. They play cards and read comics and watch their neighborhood.

    The following year, circumstances have changed. The older brother has new friends and they keep him busy. The tree house that was once magical now seems empty until a chance power outage transforms the neighborhood. In the darkness, the older brother returns to the tree house and the boys’ special relationship is revealed once again – just as the utter darkness reveals a sparkling night sky.

    In the Tree House is a shining tribute to the special relationship between siblings and the small, meaningful moments that make a world of difference.

    Nominated for a (Ontario Library Association) 2014 Blue Spruce Forest of Reading Award

    In the Tree House has also been nominated for a 2013 Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Award.

    In the Tree House at Amazon.com

    In the Tree House at Amazon.ca

    Andrew Larsen on Reading and Writing Picture Book Dads from 49th Shelf

    Exclamation Mark an Outstanding 2013 Picture Book

    Posted on December 31st, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

    Exclamation Mark outstanding 2013 picture bookExclamation Mark written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
    Outstanding 2013 Picture Book published by Scholastic Press


    Exclamation Mark is just not like anyone else. As much as he’d like to look the same, he’s always a standout in a crowd.

    He was confused, flummoxed, and deflated.
    He even thought about running away.
    .

    Clever wordplay and fun, expressive illustrations will captivate children old enough to understand punctuation and the important role it plays in our language. Older readers will enjoy the double entendre and will celebrate Exclamation Mark’s voyage of self discovery.Storytime Standouts looks at Exclamation Mark written by Amy Krouse and illustrated by Ton Lichtenheld

    Why oh why is he different? He wants nothing more than to look just like the periods around him. It is only when Question Mark arrives on the scene that Exclamation Mark discovers something deep within – he discovers why and how he has an important role to play – despite his rather unique upright appearance.

    An outstanding 2013 picture book, Exclamation Mark is highly recommended for readers aged five years and up.

    Exclamation Mark at Amazon.com

    Exclamation Mark at Amazon.ca

    Link to Make Your [Book]mark on Tom Lichtenheld’s website

    Parent’s Choice Silver Honor Spring 2013
    Kirkus Starred Review
    Booklist Starred Review

    Exclamation Mark has been nominated for a 2013 Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Award.


    How To by Julie Morstad Celebrates Play and Self Discovery

    Posted on December 20th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

    How To by Julie MorstadHow To written and illustrated by Julie Morstad
    Picture book published by Simply Read Books


    “Play is the work of the child.” – Maria Montessori

    There are shelves filled with how to books at my local library. How to change the oil in a car, how to sew a quilt, how to apply make up… These are all jobs for adults. When writing and illustrating a how to book for children, what should be the topic? What is there that children ought to do?

    Julie Morstad’s How To is a celebration of play and self discovery. When a child wants to go fast, he might choose a scooter or a pair of stilts. When another child decides to go slow she may quietly lie in a grassy spot and enjoy the flowers and butterflies.page from how to by Julie Morstad

    Beautifully drawn illustrations celebrate a diverse group of children at play – flying kites, drawing with sidewalk chalk, hiding, riding a bicycle, drumming on pots and pans and contemplating a steep, high slide. Minimal text and mostly white pages ‘leave space’ for thinking, appreciating the illustrations and imagining ways to enjoy more play.

    Winner of the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize

    How To has been nominated for a 2013 Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Award.

    How To at Amazon.com

    How To at Amazon.ca


    Night Light – A Picture Book That Shines

    Posted on December 17th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

    Night Light picture bookNight Light written and illustrated by Nicholas Blechman
    Picture book with die cuts published by Orchard Books an imprint of Scholastic


    When my sons were young, they loved picture books about vehicles. Whether reading Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go or Diane Siebert and Byron Barton’s Truck Song, my boys loved stories about emergency vehicles, trains, construction trucks and farm equipment. We would admire the interesting vehicles we saw while out on the road and check them out more closely when they were parked. On more than one occasion, I recall walking around big rigs – cement trucks and fire engines were especially appealing.

    Night Light is a picture book my boys would have loved! Bright, colorful computer-generated illustrations include a zooming train, a hovering helicopter, a shiny taxi, a chugging tugboat, a hard-working loader and a gleaming firetruck. All have lights that shine in the dark. Youngsters will enjoy counting the lights, hearing clues and then speculating on what vehicle’s lights are glowing through the die cuts. As well, they will enjoy looking at the flip side of the die cuts and how Blechman incorporates the black circles they create into the left side of each spread.
    Night Light picture book Nicholas Blechman

    Do you know which vehicle has three lights shining late at night or what sort visits many sites?

    Whether enjoyed as a counting book or as a part of a transportation theme, Night Lights is best-suited to preschool or kindergarten age children. It could also be used as inspiration for older children, prompting an exploration of art techniques that incorporate the magic of die cuts.

    Some reviewers have commented about the final illustration of the book. It is printed on the end papers and, when the book jacket is in place, it is partially obscured. Similarly, at the front of the book, the book jacket covers the publishing details enhancing the look of the first pages. While perhaps not ideal, this does not detract from the appeal this story will have for transportation enthusiasts.

    Night Light has been nominated for a 2013 Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Award.

    Night Light at Amazon.com

    Night Light at Amazon.ca

    The Quiltmaker’s Gift – a picture book about generosity and giving

    Posted on November 26th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

    picture book about generosity and giving The Quiltmakers GiftThe Quiltmaker’s Gift written by Jeff Brumbeau and illustrated by Gail de Marcken
    Picture book about generosity and giving to those less fortunate published by Scholastic Inc.


    “I give my quilts to those who are poor or homeless,” she told all who knocked on her door. “They are not for the rich.”

    The quiltmaker lives high in the mountains and spends each day stitching beautiful quilts. Gorgeous richly coloured fabrics are carefully pieced and stitched into traditional designs. When the weather is cold, the woman visits a nearby town and searches for poor, homeless people. She wraps the beautiful quilts around those who are cold, sharing her love and compassion with those who are most needy.spread from a picture book about generosity and giving The Quiltmakers Gift

    Not far away lives an unhappy, greedy king. He is never satisfied with the gifts he receives. Despite all of his riches, he always wants more. When the king hears about the quiltmaker and her beautiful quilts, he decides that he must have one of her marvelous creations. He is convinced that one of her quilts may be a key to happiness.

    The quiltmaker is unwilling to give the king a quilt. She knows that he is very wealthy. She instructs him to give away all of his possessions and tells him that, once this is done, she will have a beautiful quilt for him. He is angered by her response and decides to punish her. He sends her away and later regrets the punishment only to discover that the quiltmaker’s compassion has kept her safe.

    Beautiful, detailed watercolor illustrations highlight this thoughtful picture book about generosity and giving. Best-suited to children aged five years and up, The Quiltmaker’s Gift offers tremendous opportunities for quilting-related extension activities and discussions about social responsibility.

    Link to The Quiltmaker’s Gift Website

    image of PDF icon  Quilt Interlined Paper

    Quilt theme interlined paper for children, could be used alongside The Quiltmaker's Gift

    The Quiltmaker’s Gift at Amazon.com

    The Quiltmaker’s Gift at Amazon.ca

    Book Sense Children’s Book of the Year (2000)
    Publishers Weekly “Cuffy” Award Favorite Picture Book of the Year (1999)

    Subsequently published prequel –
    picture book about generosity and giving The Quiltmakers Journey

    The Quiltmaker’s Journey at Amazon.com

    The Quiltmaker’s Journey at Amazon.ca

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